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Bradley Beal delivers big-time for Wizards

Updated: April 23, 2014 12:34AM



First, Bradley Beal dissed our pizza.

Then he hit Chicagoans where it really hurt: the basketball court.

One day after the Wizards guard went to Giordano’s and ate the thin crust — He said the “fat pie” piece would keep him in the bathroom for “hours” — Beal all but buried the Bulls’ season.

He scored 26 points in the Wizards’ 101-99 overtime win at United Center on Tuesday night, willing his team to, if not a win, then a five-minute extension of the game.

“He made some big shots for us,” coach Randy Wittman said.

Eleven of Beal’s points came in the fourth quarter.

He made 4-of-8 shots in the last eight minutes of the game.

“I just stayed with it,” Beal said. “It was a team effort, man, I can’t take all the credit for the fourth quarter. …

“It was just my mentality. I don’t like losing. Whatever it takes this team to win, I’m gonna do it.

“I felt as though I had to get going.”

Though his baseline jumper clanked at the buzzer to send the game into overtime — “I was just trying to get the shot up,” he said — Beal was what kept the Wizards in the game.

“They got some loose balls that resulted in some open threes, and we didn’t,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

When the Bulls were up eight with 7:39 to go, Beal made a 19-foot jumper.

With Chicago up seven with 4:45 to play, he hit a 24-footer.

Heck, he was the only person — on either team — to score in the 3:52 of regulation.

“He’s very talented player,” Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. “It’s hard to keep a guy like that contained. Give him credit. He stepped up and made some plays.”

Hinrich made a layup to put the team up 91-85, and Beal scored the last six points.

Down six with 2:47 left, he sank a 26-foot three-pointer. Even with the Bulls’ woeful offense, a miss might have sealed a victory for the home side.

Beal’s shot with 1:23 left pulled the Wizards within one.

He made only the front end of two free throws with 52 seconds left to tie the game.

His miss at the regulation buzzer was part of a two-man game with star forward Nene.

“I have no problem with that shot,” Wittman said. “He wanted to be aggressive.”

Wittman wasn’t concerned with Beal or star guard John Wall, who Sunday night had combined to make only 7-of-25 shot attempts.

“I knew he’d come back and bounce back at some point, and he did,” Wittman said. “He was very confident tonight, stayed aggressive even through some misses. Brad made some big plays for us coming down the stretch.”

In 73 games this season, Beal shot 39.6 percent from three and 41.6 percent afield, averaging 17.1 points.

“I always tell our guys, as long as they’re the right shots and the good shots, I’m not concerned,” Wittman said.

He had 13 points in the first half and 13 more in the second.

He didn’t register in overtime, but he got them there.

“He was just taking his looks when it came to him, I guess,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. “They had a lot of loose ball scrambles and he stepped in to take advantage of them.

“He just did a great job of just being aggressive late. He’s a young player and he’s stepping into his own.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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